The director suggests his story no longer fit into the lighter-toned DC Extended Universe mandated from above.
Joss Whedon broke the hearts of DC fans this past February by telling them he was stepping away from the forthcoming "Batgirl" movie because he didn't have a story. The answer was suspicious then, because he'd already been tied to the project for so long, but now it turns out it wasn't exactly true, either.
"I told people I didn't have an idea, which isn't the exact truth," the filmmaker told Variety at the "Avengers: Infinity War" premiere.
According to the director, it had more to do with the behind-the-scenes maneuvering at Warner Bros. and the change in direction for the DC Extended Universe. With the franchise faltering, executives had tried to belatedly inject humor into "Suicide Squad" and Whedon had already come in to retool "Justice League" after Zack Snyder departed, with many believing he was directed to make it lighter in tone.
"It had been a year since I first pitched a story," Whedon said. "A lot happened in that year, and I felt some of the elements might not work as well, and the story just kind of crumbled in my hands because there were elements I just hadn’t mastered, and after a long time I felt like I wasn’t going to."
He went on to say, "I had an idea, and it just didn't fit in the space that was left for it."
Quite possibly, Whedon's "Batgirl" story was in line with the darker tone of "The Man of Steel" and "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," while executives were looking at the runaway success of "Wonder Woman," which was full of hope and optimism.
Whedon admitted to being a "little heartbroken" about how things turned out as he was excited about his story, but he's since moved on. Maybe some remnant of his story will show up in a future DCEU film, or some comics professional can turn it into a new "Batgirl" mini-series.
"Batgirl" is still moving ahead in the DCEU, though with "Unforgettable" screenwriter Christina Hodson handling the script. The character is expected to first make her debut in the forthcoming "Birds of Prey" film before setting off on her own, much like Wonder Woman premiered in "Batman v Superman."